In January 2010, in order to connect rural areas lacking any IT infrastructure to the Internet, the Fraunhofer FOKUS, a branch of Germany’s largest research organisation, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, will breathe life into the FOKUS NET4DC. Together with partners from target regions, this international centre for information and communication technologies in developing countries will develop and make available tailor-made IT infrastructures and communication networks. The robust technology is being developed in Germany, and a first successful pilot project was recently initiated in the Southern Province of Zambia.
“The support of sustainable economic concepts is a global challenge. In our view, Fraunhofer FOKUS can contribute to this process by supplying mobile communication applications and helping to construct modern IT infrastructures in newly industrialising and developing countries”, emphasises Prof Dr Ulrich Buller, a board member of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. This should enable services such as eHealth, eLearning, eGovernment, eCommerce and eMicrobanking and with them, foster the integration of structurally weak regions into national and international markets. “By doing this, we can meet the expectations of social responsibility in the global context”, says Buller.
The main goal of FOKUS NET4DC is the implementation of modern information and communication technologies in the regions concerned to enable sustainable access to global communication networks. Prof Dr Radu Popescu-Zeletin, the director of Fraunhofer FOKUS and instigator and initiator of the centre’s FOKUS NET4DC explains, “We are accelerating research and development projects that factor in regional demands such as rough environmental conditions, irregular power supply, or the available radio wave spectrums.” The tailor-made communications and information solutions made in this way will be used by people who live in sparsely populated areas and speak very little, if any, English.